Flavor of the month
The following books represent a curated selection of books we are feeling this month and think you will too.
The flavor of this month is “Liberation”
Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold
Young Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who soared above New York City rooftops in the Caldecott Honor Book (and Coretta Scott King Award-winning) Tar Beach, returns for an imaginative historical adventure. Cassie and her brother, Be Be, are on another fanciful flight when they encounter a mysterious train and a woman in a conductor's uniform: Harriet Tubman, known as "Aunt Harriet" because she takes care of people. Tubman sends the two children on separate re-creations of a journey from slavery to freedom. As Cassie makes her way north, she relies on Tubman's advice to stay safe, and takes comfort in notes from Be Be, who is always one step ahead. The children are reunited in Canada, where they can celebrate the freedom they have always known with newly open eyes. As Be Be says, "Now I know what our great-great-grandparents survived when they were children."
In her unique artwork, which fans will recognize from Tar Beach and from the many "story quilts" that have brought her international recognition, Faith Ringgold uses strong colors and shapes to merge fact and fancy and bring out the excitement inherent in this historical adventure. A map and short bibliography are appended, as well as an author's note giving more information on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, and on the creation of the book. A useful introduction for the picture-book set, Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky will engage readers to understand this important part of American history.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July
by Frederick DOuglass
On July 5, 1852, Douglass delivered an address to the ladies of the Rochester Anti-Slavery Sewing Society. This speech eventually became known as "What to the slave is the 4th of July?" and some consider it the greatest anti-slavery oration ever given. Like many abolitionists, Douglass believed that education would be crucial for African Americans to improve their lives. This led Douglass to become an early advocate for school desegregation. In the 1850s, Douglass observed that New York's facilities and instruction for African-American children were vastly inferior to those for whites. Douglass called for court action to open all schools to all children. He said that full inclusion within the educational system was a more pressing need for African Americans than political issues such as suffrage.
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle
by Angela Y. Davis
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.
Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.
Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle."